Another One For The Transhumanist Scrapbook: Draconian Punishments

by Joseph P. Farrell


So many people sent me versions of this important and significant development that it was simply a kind of moral imperative that I alert readers here to it, and say something about it. In this case, there are four different articles, each of which reveals, almost immediately, what the new concern is:


Is Biotech Seeking Ways to Make People Suffer Eternally?

Should Biotech Make Life Hellish for Criminals? 

Enhanced Punishment: Can Technology Make Life Sentences Longer? 

Could we condemn criminals to suffer for hundreds of years? Biotechnology could let us extend convicts’ lives ‘indefinitely

When Dr. de Hart and I were writing Transhumanism: A Grimoire of Alchemical Agendas, one of the questions we were impelled to raise, one which the transhumanist movement itself raises repeatedly, is what does it mean to be “human”? And this, we implied, was not simply a philosophical question. Nor was it a question of biological or chemical “scientism” with its convenient, and largely useless, materialist reductionisms. It was a question of culture, society, jurisprudence, and morality

Within the transhumanist “vision” there is a common underlying theme, regardless of whether or not one accepts the “heaven scenarios” of such advocates like Ray Kurzweil, or the more sobering assessments of transhumanist researchers like Joel Garreau and their “hell scenarios”, for in both cases, the favored transhumanist “GRIN” technologies – genetics, robotics, information processing, and nano-technologies – open both favorable and horrific vistas of the future.

In this case, we are concerned with the horrific ones, for as the articles suggest, what if such technologies made life extension possible as a matter of judicial punishment? This unpleasant prospect, as the articles aver, is actually being not only entertained but its advocacy is even being implied in some circles. What if, in addition to this, other technologies are super-added to life extension, technologies of the “androgynous and alchemical fusion” of man and machine, to implant criminals with chips, to subject them to forms of “virtual torture” and suffering? Some transhumanists have envisioned the downloading and uploading of individual’s personal memories as a technique of virtual life extension. But what if such technologies could recover the memories of victims of crimes? Would criminals then be punished by making them relive in some sort of “virtual reality” the horrors of the crimes they committed on their victims? Could criminals of the future be sentenced to “life extension and ‘hard reliving’ of their crimes from the victim’s point of view” for “x” number of years, without hope of parole or reprieve? While such questions sound like science fiction, as the above articles point out, they are already being entertained, and they are being entertained, because the technologies impelling them are already under development.

Indeed, one can envision a state of development where such technologies were so advanced that a sentence of life in prison with “at hard virtual labor” would be so horrific, that the death penalty, far from being a thing to be avoided by defendants, might become a thing sought.

But there are yet other possibilities as well, possibilities that were, in fact, explored in the television science fiction series Babylon Five in the 1990s: the “death of personality.” In that series, convicted murderers are subjected to a kind of “death of the ego”: the erasure of the personality, memories, and emotions of the perpetrator

While some may view all of this favorably, and argue that it is “ethical,” I incline to the other opinion, and hold that it is barbaric, and a measure of the dehumanizing that such philosophies and technologies are inevitably bringing with them. I submit that such punishments are indeed “cruel and unusual” and little other than a form of torture.

 But whatever one’s opinion may be, the cultural transformation of culture and society that the transhumanists are championing or, in a few cases, decrying, are indeed hurtling down the tracks toward us and will force each of us to deal with the types of questions these articles are pointing out.


See you on the flip side.



The article first appeared here.


2030: You Own Nothing, Have No Privacy...

by Chris Campbell


“Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better.”

In 2017, we find ourselves caught between the incredible and Earth-shaking potential of exponential technology — and a million minds, pulling the reins, trying to tame the beast and train it to build out their particular vision of the future.

One such vision is horrifyingly articulated in an article promoted by the World Economic Forum late last year.

The article, written by young Ida Auken, was published ahead of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils.  It details a techno-utopian circular economy, which, on the surface, sounds great. In the circular economy, products are turned into services. Everything is Uber-ized. So, of course, nobody owns anything and all non-ownership is transparent.

“When products are turned into services, no one has an interest in things with a short life span. Everything is designed for durability, repairability and recyclability. The materials are flowing more quickly in our economy and can be transformed to new products pretty easily. Environmental problems seem far away, since we only use clean energy and clean production methods.”

The devil, of course, is in the details. And a tiny, unavoidable glint of darkness emerges halfway through the article:  “Once in a while I get annoyed about the fact that I have no real privacy. Nowhere I can go and not be registered. I know that, somewhere, everything I do, think and dream of is recorded. I just hope that nobody will use it against me.”

Ah, I see.

In this scenario, without privacy, forget about freedom of speech, assembly or the basic ability to form one’s own opinion about the nature of things.

If the politicos are still at the top of the food chain, if the sociopathic wolves still guard the chicken pen, we wonder, what would this society look like?

The flow of information would likely be managed to the bit. Models of reality would be shaped in real-time. Maps would be mistaken for the territory, as nobody would have a reason to think different.

“Free” education would perfect the art of brainwashing. A.I. programs would parse through text messages, emails and social media, in search of “problematic” language. And those deemed a threat to the civility and order of the “Free Society” would likely be, at best, casted out to live with the rurally deplored or, at worst, hanged (humanely as possible, of course) in the public square.

Think of all of those meandering thoughts which run through your mind, of which you cannot control.  Now imagine that any one of them could be used against you. Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, I have no privacy and life couldn’t be more terrifying.

Fortunately, privacy isn’t dead. And technology is a wild beast which might prove impossible to tame completely. In fact, for those willing to put in the work to protect themselves, there are plenty of options to keep your information safe and protected from prying  eyes. Today, to talk about one tool you should add to your privacy arsenal, we invite Simon Black of Sovereign Man.

Read on.

Here’s a FANTASTIC Security Tool You Really Should Know About

By Simon Black


Chances are you probably use a cloud service to store at least a portion of your files. Dropbox. iCloud. Microsoft’s OneDrive. Mega. Box.

There’s so many of them these days. And a few of them, like Switzerland-based Tresorit, focus heavily on privacy and security to keep your data safe.

But let’s be honest– privacy is definitely not a top priority among most of the top cloud providers.

Dropbox states right on its own website that the company has direct access to your files.  ensitive company data. Financial records. Intimate photos. Personal information. Password files. Cryptocurrency keys.And even if you delete the files, the backup copies are STILL stored on Dropbox’s servers.

(It’s not just Dropbox– most of the major cloud services operate this way.) This presents a significant amount of risk from multiple fronts.

Hacker threats are nearly ubiquitous these days. Hardly a month goes by without another announcement of some major data breach… and we only hear about the big ones in which millions of people are affected.  One of the latest hacker trends is when attackers gain control of your mobile devices by calling up your mobile carrier and convincing them that they’re you.  This allows them to reset passwords and easily gain access to your emails and files.  Then of course there are legal risks.

If you’ve never been sued, congratulations. Let’s hope it stays that way. If you have been sued, congratulations. It means that at least someone thinks you’re successful. Broke people typically don’t get sued. Bear in mind that the ‘justice’ system today has very little to do with justice.  It’s about government prosecutors or some twisted, amoral, money-hungry lawyer convincing 12 strangers on a jury that you’re a terrible person.  And during the discovery process of a lawsuit, EVERYTHING is up for grabs. A court can literally subpoena your entire life, including your emails, files, financial records, etc. Chances are they can find something in all that data to make you look bad.

Then there’s the other never-ending issue of government spying and the NSA archiving every kilobyte of data that passes across the Internet. It might be easier to simply CC the government on every email you send and add their email address as an authorized user of your Dropbox account. Despite all these known risks, though, and the constant stream of stories about hackers and government spying, few people take steps to safeguard their data.

(As an example, according to a study by Keeper Security, the most common password is 123456. Not exactly hacker-proof.)

But there are some very simple tools available that can help.

One of them is called Cryptomator, which came to my attention from a close friend of mine who works in the US Army’s cyberwarfare divison, which was established to defend government systems against foreign hackers. Cryptomator is free, simple program which encrypts every single file you store on a cloud server. Let’s say you use Dropbox to sync files between your laptop and the cloud.

Ordinarily, your files are stored unencrypted on your laptop, and they’re accessible by certain Dropbox staff through the cloud servers. Cryptomator encrypts the files on BOTH ends, i.e. the file that’s stored on the Dropbox servers is encrypted, AND the file stored locally on your laptop is encrypted.

Dropbox employees who try to access your data would see nothing but gibberish. And anyone who gains physical access to your laptop would see nothing but gibberish.  Only you have the ability to unlock the files.

Now, this sounds like a cumbersome process… having to constantly encrypt and decrypt files, enter passwords, etc.  But it’s not. Cryptomator has created a streamlined platform where you can group files together in ‘vaults’. Then you can decrypt an entire vault, attach it to your file system, and easily re-encrypt it when you’re finished. You can see an example in this video.

Try it out if you’re interested; the software is free, available on Mac OS, Windows, Linux, Android, and iPhone.  Plus it’s open-source, meaning that anyone who knows the Java programming language can download the source code and verify that the software contains no backdoors or malware.





[Ed. note: This article originally appeared on the Sovereign Man blog, right here at this link.]  Chris Campbell is the Managing editor of Laissez Faire Today. Before joining Agora Financial, he was a researcher and contributor to SilverDoctors.com.  The article is published under a creative commons license here.

Municipal Waste Combustion Management for a Cleaner Environment

by Allen Williams


As government regulations continue to play an increased role in the nation's economy, there is a demand for cheaper energy sources to promote economic growth.  

America is committing vast land resources for the storage of Industrial and residential waste.  Municipalities must contract out or arrange for waste  transportation to landfill sites which amount to vast quantities of energy buried.  

Municipal waste is a growing problem in both rural and urban communities across the United States. Toxins are leached from the materials in the landfill over time that potentially threaten the water supply and many of today's modern components take centuries to decay in the earth. Landfills contain Combustible materials that could provide low cost energy for cities as well as improve the environment.

Photo: Land fill space a growing problem../

The average American now discards approximately 16-20 pounds of solid waste per day per person. This waste has traditionally been disposed of in landfills, which require huge tracts of land and have finite storage capacity.  Many landfills will have to close by 2040, increasing the cost of trash disposal and preventing the land from more productive use.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has noted that the energy content of solid waste in landfills has been steadily rising over the last decade, hitting 11.73 million Btu/ton in 2005. The heat content of interred waste provides the basis for developing an engineered fuel supporting many industrial applications such as the production of hydrocarbons, solvents, motor fuels, and even electric power generation.

A 2010 study(3) has found that emissions from landfills versus municipal waste combustion using EPA's life cycle assessment (LCA) model for the range and scenarios evaluated, that waste combustion outperforms land filling in terms of Green House Gas emissions regardless of landfill gas management techniques.

Innovative technologies can use buried waste as energy to convert bio-waste into needed products.  Recently, Sweden's 144 million Kristianstad biogas plant has successfully converted municipal bio-waste into methane for use in automobiles and heating, saving some $3.5 million per year. Biogas can be further processed to produce organic liquids and even motor grade fuels.

Municipal Waste can be converted into fuel pellets with combustion performance comparable to coal. The solid waste can be processed with an engineered heat content amenable to fluidized bed and other furnace combustion equipment.  Optimally, the pellets could be manufactured to a specific heat content. This is accomplished by feeding shredded rubber from scrap tires into a Cuber machine to produce fuel cubes of very high heating value, approximately 10,000 to 12,000 Btu/lb, suitable for utility power generation.

Developing a plan

The rising level of municipal waste provides incentive to develop alternative fuels but municipal waste contains many non-combustible components, some of which possess considerable recycle value. Recovery of these materials help to defer the cost of producing an engineered heat content fuel.  Figure 1 illustrates the potential economic return based on EPA waste content.

Figure 1 - Salvageable Materials And Byproducts Revenue

Locating a suitable waste transformation plant directly on a Landfill site saves added costs for property and waste transportation to a site as trucks are already servicing the  facility.  In natural gas producing landfills, a cheap supply of methane for hydrocarbon synthesis is readily available.

In cases where a bio-gas facility such as Johnson County Wastewater may be nearby, combustible waste sludge can be transported via pipeline for fueling a suitable fluidized bed boiler. The pipeline can pay for itself quickly as only the installation cost from the wastewater facility to the landfill need be considered.  Additionally, Industrial solvents such as methanol and other light hydrocarbons can be produced from the readily available methane feedstock along with steam and or electricity. 

Waste Site Considerations

An ideal plant site would be an 850-acre landfill of which approximately 770 acres are used for solid waste internment. Road infrastructure would already exist to handle the associated truck waste transport traffic. Only small infrastructure changes would be needed to support an onsite waste processing facility.

Waste transport vehicles would contain an average of 11 tons of municipal trash and make 1 to 3 trips per day to the site depending on weather and other factors. The landfill could receive as much as 5000 tons of trash per day, averaging nearly 19 trucks per hour.

Engineered fuels could be manufactured from this solid refuse on approximately 5 of the remaining 70 plus acres. The solid waste would be screened to remove various metals and other non-combustible materials before processing into specified heat content fuels.

Waste Separation process

Figure two illustrates dual waste handling units separating typical recyclable materials, shredding and blending recovered solids and vehicle tires from the municipal waste to produce a serviceable fuel pellet.  It is a time and motion illustration of the effort required to produce a 24% blend of solid waste and rubber.  The chart was developed from a real waste processing pilot operation by RCR Partners of Colorado during the early 1980's.

Since that time computer model studies have shown that a 50-50 waste blend of solids and scrap tires provided a better heat content fuel at 10,221 Btu/lb suitable for a small industrial boiler consuming approximately 30 tons of fuel pellets per hour.  The 50-50 blend represents only an incremental change in processing times.

The 2010 RCR industries salvageable Materials and Byproducts chart documents recovery revenues that are used to offset the cost of manufacturing an engineered fuel which is the basis of the Figure 2 chart.  From this study, recyclable materials savings, operating and labor costs can be estimated.

Figure 2 - Solids Separation and Fuel Pellet manufacture


RCR Material Flow

Bags enter the breaker machine from the truck where large boxes and bags are opened without damaging the contents. This permits the separation of light and heavy components. Food waste is removed prior to mechanical separation.

The solid waste moves through three mechanical separators upon entering the waste handling facility to remove glass, metal cans and plastic. Separation efficiency is greater than 90%.

Material next enters the first of two identical separators, all components less than 1-½” size pass through the first separator and are collected together with any metals in a common bin. These materials require further processing to segregate glass and metal

Separator No 3 removes all fractions less than 3" x 8”. Plastics fall into a collection bin exiting the 3rd separator.

The remaining material enters the shredder and is now all light fraction material.

The shredder slices the solid waste into approximately a ¾” size. The material passes through a cyclone separator to remove any dust generated by the shredding operation. The material can then be moistened and compressed by a Cuber machine into approximately 1-1/2" x 2" size fuel pellets.

The pellets may then be conveyed to storage vessels.

Photo: Fuel Pellets conveyed to Storage


Economics

Company reports are often good sources of economic cost data. Our fuel processing cost is estimated from an RCR Partners pilot plant study for the year's 1982-'83. The ordinary expense average for these years was $2,308,500 per year and defines the fixed costs. The Jan. '84 - Mar. '11 inflation rate was 146.7%, adjusting the ordinary expenses to present costs gives $5,694,244 per year.

The following utility rates were used in the economic evaluation: Coal at $55.00/ton, electricity at 7.3 cents per kilowatt, plant water for 3.2 cents a gallon and engineered fuel expenses according to the following cost relation.  Fuel Cost/(ton) = X% * fixed cost + (1-X)% * rubber + processing

The base rate is calculated from the total production cost minus the revenue from salvageable materials separated out during the manufacturing process, i.e.  [$Cost - $Salvage]/Total Tons = $Cost/ton

The salvageable material quantities from waste separation that can be re-sold are indicated in figures 1and 2.  Ferrous metal scrap pays a max of $250/ton, Aluminum $0.75/lb and plastics $150/ton.  Salvageable tire steel belt is 2.5 lbs/tire:

Details of computer simulated quantities and expected margins in the production of an organic solvent using engineered fuel pellets may be found in the July 2012 issue of Chemical Engineering, Vol 119, No. 7


Conclusions

One of the most significant features of engineered fuels is the ability to reduce the quantity of sulfur that must be scrubbed out of atmospheric releases during combustion.  In our simulation, the computer model predicted a 20.67% reduction in SO2 emissions..

Mercury is virtually eliminated from stack gas emissions and other airborne contaminants can be significantly reduced through controlled waste blending.

Combusting Municipal waste in a controlled environment not only alleviates the need for further land repositories but may also facilitate recovery of burnable materials from many existing landfills.

Literature Cited:


1. "Methodology for Allocating Municipal Solid Waste to Biogenic and Non-Biogenic Energy", Energy Information Administration, Office of Coal, Nuclear, Electric and Alternate Fuels U.S., May 2007 Report

2. “Evaluating Green Projects – Modeling Improves Economic Benefits”, A. Williams, K. Dunwoody, Chemical Engineering – 119, 7, July 2012

3.   "Life-Cycle Assessment of Waste Management Greenhouse Gas Emissions Using Municipal Waste Combustor Data", J. Envir. Engr. 136, 749 (2010); doi:10.1061/(ASCE)EE.1943-7870.0000189 (7 pages),Brian Bahor, Michael Van Brunt, P.E., Keith Weitz, and Andrew Szurgot

4. "Multisolid Fluidized Bed Combustion", H. Nack, R.D. Litt, B.C. Kim, Chemical Engineering Progress, Jan 1984

5. "Energy Recovery from Fluidized Bed Combustion", Robert J. Sneyd, Chemical Engineering Progress, Jan 1984

6. "Methodology for Allocating Municipal Solid Waste to Biogenic and Non-Biogenic Energy", Energy Information Administration, Office of Coal, Nuclear, Electric and Alternate Fuels, May 2007 Report


Deadly Medicine Creating the Master Race

by John Carlos Cantu           


U-M Taubman Health Sciences Library exhibit presents a chilling look at Nazi ideology.

The 1938 words of Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Nazi minister of propaganda, stand above the display panels of what is undoubtedly the most somber exhibit Ann Arbor has seen at the University of Michigan Taubman Health Sciences Library.  Goebbel’s quote runs as follows: “Our starting point is not the individual, and we do not subscribe to the view that one should feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, or clothe the naked…. Our objectives are entirely different: We must have a healthy people in order to prevail in the world.” 

These words are chilling and they’re more than an adequate rationale for this heart-rending investigation into a politics that sought to implement one of the most perverse policies in history. 

As Mary Beth Reilly, writer for the U-M’s Center for the History of Medicine, says in the display’s gallery statement, “The Nazi regime was founded upon the conviction that ‘inferior races’ and individuals had to be eliminated from German society so that the fittest ‘Aryans’ could thrive. 

“By the end of World War II, six million Jews and millions of others—among them Roma and Sinti (Gypsies), people with disabilities, homosexuals, and others belonging to ethnic groups deemed inferior—had been persecuted and murdered.”  And as Alexandra Minna Stern, Zina Pitcher Collegiate Professor of the History of Medicine and Associate Director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the U-M Medical School, adds, “The exhibition is a visually powerful experience for viewers that shows how the doctrine of racial hygiene was taken to its most heinous extremes.” 

Indeed. And as the exhibit pointedly illustrates, there’s more than enough blame to go around. For the exhibit begins with a panel illustrating the various programs from countries around the world (including the United States) advocating various eugenic schemes at the turn of the 20th century whose “racial hygiene” included programs in population policy, public health education, and government-funded research whose ends (even if they weren’t remotely the same) clearly showed an undeniable bias.  

The rediscovery of Austrian botanist Gregor Mendel’s genetics experiments in 1900 coupled with the increasingly fashionable “Social Darwinism” of British philosopher cum sociologist Herbert Spencer, whose catchphrase “survival of the fittest” was being bandied about, led to increasing public prestige in the efforts to stabilize public policy issues that emerged with increasing industrialization and urbanization. This was, in retrospect, a philosophical and political slippery slope that was in part absorbed in the ideology and practice of the newly emergent Nazi party of the 1920s. 

From the early 1930s through the balance of the Nazi regime, there were repeated campaigns to rid German society of what they viewed as biological threats. As “Deadly Medicine” clearly shows, this policy absorbed the efforts and energies of many of the nation’s most talented doctors, psychiatrists, anthropologists, and medically trained geneticists, as well as social planners and party functionaries at every level.  [And soon to be repeated in the form of Obamacare - ED] 

What started as a secret campaign to eliminate the weak and infirm disguised as medical assistance metastasized into a full-fledge program of eradication under the pressure of World War II. Ultimately, this so-called “sanitary campaign” finally took form as a genocide that we now know as the Holocaust, resulting in the near total annihilation of Europe’s Jewish population. 

To its credit, “Deadly Medicine” doesn’t pull any punches. Its juxtaposition of scientific certitude and racial hatred are handled as responsibly as the topics deserve. 

By naming names, dates, and events—as well as providing significant visual evidence—the exhibit takes the full measure of this circumstance where those in charge of healing and sustenance distorted their responsibilities until their lifework turned into a horror whose pain continues to this day.  

It’s certainly enough pain for Professor Stern to remind us that the example of this massive failure of science, technology, tolerance, and ultimately compassion, “raises weighty questions about the potential benefits and harms of genetic and reproductive technologies today.” And it’s on this cautionary note that the solemn exhibit rightfully concludes.

 

 




“It’s certainly enough pain for Professor Stern to remind us that the example of this massive failure of science, technology, tolerance, and ultimately compassion, “raises weighty questions about the potential benefits and harms of genetic and reproductive technologies today.” And it’s on this cautionary note that the solemn exhibit rightfully concludes.”  The article first appeared here. - DNI